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tv   ABC World News Sunday  ABC  January 9, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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we'll tonight, a special edition of "world news." did you say that gabrielle giffords was hit? >> a member of congress shot, one of 20 as a mad man unleashes his rage. the medical miracle. how do you survive a bullet to the brain? hopeful signs tonight for the congresswoman and the victims. and the six that did not survive. including a young girl born on 9/11. the suspect, what we're learning about the trail of anger and failure that led him here. and the heroes. a young intern who ran toward the gun fire when others ran away. >> when i heard the shots being fired, my first instinct was to run towards where the congresswoman was. tonight from arizona, the tragedy in tucson. good evening. the gunfire that erupted in a safeway parking lot here echoes
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across the country tonight. six people were killed, 14 wounded, when a young college dropout with a history of strange behavior took a point-blank shot at congresswoman gabrielle giffords. as she greeted constituents. we have our full team covering the story tonight. here's the latest. surgeons say they are very, very encouraged by the fact that giffords is able to respond. after a bullet passed straight through her brain. federal charges have been filed against the shooter and we have learned about two new heroes. the woman who knocked the weapon from the gunman's hand after she was shot herself and the young man who put his hands on the congresswoman's wound, it may have saved her life. we begin right here in tucson with dan harris, dan, we're getting a real picture of that the horror of the first few minutes. >> reporter: late today, we're getting our first real taste of the chaos inside the room when the shooting happened, when we got the first listen to the 911 tapes.
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>> reporter: on tapes, you can even hear the shock in the voices of the normally calm emergency operators. >> reporter: today, the local sheriff revealed that in the midst of the mayhem, there was another hero who took action against the shooter, a woman who tried to grab the weapon out of the suspect's hands. >> when the gentleman was attempting to change magazines, a woman went up and grabbed the magazine and tore it away from him. >> reporter: the sheriff said that the actions of that woman paved the way for two men to ultimately subdue the shooter potentially preventing many more people from being shot. the doctor treated representative gabrielle giffords gave an optimistic update. saying that she's responding to simple commands. >> this is about as good as it
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gets. >> reporter: the doctors stressed that the situation is still precarious. at the congresswoman's synagogue today, prayers for healing. we spoke with her rabbi who spent last night at the hospital with representative giffords and her husband, astronaut mark kelly. in the last 24 hours, we have been hearing so much about this love story between mark and gabby, how is he doing? >> as well as can be expected. he's a very strong man. and he's surrounded by a lot of strength. >> reporter: george, just one more note on those 911 tapes, i was really struck by one of the calls, from a man named manuel hernandez, who was trying to tell 2 operator, trying to give her information as he was helping people who were bleeding and in some cases, dying. >> it was incredible. she got a lot of information out of him during that call. the fbi director robert mueller said today that congresswoman giffords was definitely the target of the shooter. his team is working with local officials here and the investigation is moving fast, so david kerley picks up that part
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of the story in washington. david? >> reporter: tonight, a clear picture that this was a lone, angry, disenfranchised young man who was solely responsible for this deadly shootings. as you mentioned the director of the fbi is in tucson, the first time in 15 years that the head of the fbi has been on the scene the day after a gruesome crime. as agents worked the crime scene, tonight, authorities have filed five counts against 22-year-old jared loughner, including attempted assassination of a member of congress. on the scene, the fbi director suggested that he was a lone assassin. >> there is no information at this time to suggest any specific threat remains. >> reporter: it turns out that second person of interest was just a cab driver who dropped loughner off. tonight, the fbi said it found in loughner's home safe an envelope with the words, "i planned ahead," "my
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assassination." also in the safe, a thank you note from giffords after the two met at a similar community event, a meeting loughner may not have been satisfied with. >> he asked her some questions that made no sense to me. he said to me, i can't believe she doesn't understand. he said, politicians don't get it. i was like, okay, whatever, jared. just passing it off. that was probably a trigger. >> reporter: a large part of this investigation now involves combing the internet. loughner left a trail of postings. anti-government rants. the last was a note saying good-bye to friends. adding "don't be mad." it's a picture of a troubled young man, rejected by the army after high school. there were minor drug arrests. but then, a serious downward spiral this fall. he was kicked out of community college. told he needed a mental health review before he could return. about the same time, the last day of november, he legally bought the gun used in the shooting at this store. neighbors said they had no idea that loughner was so troubled. >> this guy seemed to be a loony. >> the things that he put on the
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internet and nobody noticed that there might be a concern. >> reporter: the fbi director admits today that over the past decade, it's become much easier to spread hate speech on the internet. he says that a challenge for the fbi. we should mention that loughner will make his first court appearance tomorrow in tucson. as the investigation proceeds, 13 of the wounded are here at the university hospital behind me with congresswoman giffords. they're the lucky ones. in all, there were six dead. one was a federal judge, john roll, 63. he just wanted to say hello to the congresswoman on his way to mass. one a pastor, dorwin stoddard, 76 years old. and one just elected to her student council, she wanted to meet her congresswoman. christina taylor green, was just 9 years old, born on september 11th, 2001.
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>> she was proud of that. >> the sad yiern of that birthday struck her parents. >> she comes into the world on 9/11. and then, at 9 years old, she leaves it on this terrible day. >> she was a passionate girl and tenacious. >> when she focused on something, boom. >> 100%. >> she used to give a little face, we nicknamed her the bobcat. >> bobcat? >> yeah, she would give a little snarl when she didn't like something. >> like most little girls, she loved to dance. but she was the only girl on her little league team. baseball's in her blood. >> the whole family is involved in baseball. >> here's her grandfather, dallas green, who managed the phillies when they won the 1980 world series. >> christina was just beautiful inside and out. she had a beautiful soul and heart. and she was so kind. she wanted to help others.
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>> it's a tough balance these days, having that intense passion and tenaciousness. on the other side, have the caring and sensitivity to others. and she had both. >> i hope talking about her helps you all. >> it does. i think people should know more about christina. >> she was an amazing little girl. and she got robbed. >> she was an amazing girl. back to congresswoman giffords now. it's almost impossible to believe that a bullet can pass through your brain without killing you. but that congresswoman has survived and today, her doctors are cautiously optimistic. >> when you get shot in the head and the bullet goes through your brain, the chances of you living is very small. the chances of waking up is much smaller than that. so far, it's been a very good situation. dr. richard besser joins us now from new york, our medical editor. and it's amazing, rich, how could someone survive this?
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>> george, it's incredible. it's a combination of luck and excellent medical care. i would say heavier on the luck. the bullet went straight through the left side of her brain from the back to the front. and had it been off by an inch, or the angle by a few degrees, the picture would have been different. it would have hit critical structures and she likely would have died. >> are the doctors most worried about now? >> the big concern in the first few days is swelling. if you think of the skull as a boney box, if the brain swells, the increased pressure would cut off the brain flow, she would die. to manage that, they removed the left side of her skull and that way the brain can swell, when the swelling goes down, they can put the skull right back on. >> and the doctors, i heard one of the doctors say today that we're not going to know for sure about recovery, it could be up to seven years with trauma victims like this, but is a full recovery possible here? >> every neurosurgeon that we have talked to, has seen cases
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where there has been a full recovery. they respect her privacy. they haven't shared everything that they know. it's too soon to give a prognosis. it really isn't too soon to be hopeful. >> okay, rich, thank you very much. it's an amazing survival story. congresswoman giffords is also a political survivor. giffords has toughed out three elections. christiane, she has made friends on both sides of the political aisle. >> she made a point of saying, that as a former republican, she's now representing democrats in a republican district. but, also, she has a reputation as pragmatic moderate. all of the people that we have been talking to say that she really does create real friendships, both personally and professionally. gabrielle giffords is the rare politician who's respected and liked by colleagues in both parties. a democrat, she's now been elected three times to serve her largely republican district. she does not fit easily into political categories. >> she's just an absolutely delightful person.
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it doesn't make any difference whether you're an "r" or an "d." we're out there trying to do the best job we can. >> she's a gun owner and champions gun rights. a motorcyclist siding with bikers wanting to ride without helmets. she's argued with troops at the mexican border. opposed arizona's tough new immigration law. and she passionately backed health care reform. a fulbright scholar, ceo of her family's tire company, in 2007, she married space shuttle commander, mark kelly, making her the only congresswoman with an active duty spouse. and of course, mark kelly continues his vigil at her bedside in the hospital just behind us. he's also meant to command the last final shuttle mission to the international space station. >> okay, christiane, thank you very much. the shooting barely ended before repp epereppercusions ba
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again. the debate over what this means for our politics and our culture will go on for some time. david wright has our first look at where it stands today. >> reporter: although the shooter in this rampage appeared to have acted alone. many feel there is blame to go around. >> i think we're the tombstone of the united states of america. >> reporter: today, tucson's sheriff took aim at arizona's permissive gun rules. >> others blame the toxic political culture. us versus them. >> we have a society where people are almost trained to hate their government. there is a great deal of animosity toward government and elected officials. but we have created a monster. >> reporter: congresswoman giffords has encountered that monster before. in 2009, someone left a gun at one of her town hall meetings on health care reform. >> are you still going to be out
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there publicly talking about health care? >> reporter: she didn't let it intimidate her. >> my belief is, you got to do your job. >> reporter: giffords is fond of joking, her district includes the o.k. corral and the tombstone, the town too tough to die. she counts herself a supporter of gun rights. in fact, she owns a glock 9 like the weapon used by the shooter. she's been critical of inflammatory political rhetoric. last spring, she spoke out after sarah palin's political action committee put her district in the crosshairs. >> when people do that, you got to realize that there are consequences to that action. >> reporter: days earlier, someone shot the glass in her office. in that instance, no was injured or killed. david wright, abc news, tucson. i'll be back later in the broadcast with more from tucson. for the day's other news, let's go to david muir in new york. still ahead here on "world news" this sunday night -- after the shootings of congresswoman
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giffords, new questions about whether all politicians should have tighter security and tonight, some who now say they'll carry a gun. and the other major headline, that massive winter storm across ten states. it's going to be a very rough monday morning. and the hero who rushed to gabby giffords' side. what he did and why it likely saved her life. [ woman ] i had this deep, radiating pain everywhere... and i wondered what it was. i found out that connected to our muscles are nerves that send messages through the body. my doctor diagnosed it as fibromyalgia, thought to be the result of overactive nerves that cause chronic, widespread pain. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. i learned lyrica can provide significant relief from fibromyalgia pain. and less pain means i can do more with the ones i love. [ female announcer ] lyrica is not for everyone. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions.
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after the shooting of congresswoman gabrielle giffords come new questions tonight about whether members of congress should have more security. in most cases they travel with no security. when they're out in their districts. jon karl is back on capitol hill tonight. with an extremely bipartisan call about security and about this week ahead. jon, what have you learned. >> reporter: quite a call, david. with boehner and pelosi, and 800 members and staff on that call, to talk about those things, lot of talk from the leaders of this being the unified response of one congress, one congress to this tragedy, to that end, they have canceled all business next week. all regular business, instead, they will meet on wednesday to have a resolution to honor grab rielle giffords and the other victims of the shooting. there will be a security briefing with all members to talk about their own security.
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>> jon, we first touched on this last night. is it realistic to think more than 500 members of house and senate could have their own security out in their districts? >> 535 members, sometimes they have six, eight events a day, extraordinary. many of them are saying they don't want security to come between them and their constituents. one democrat leader had this to say. >> i think we need to recognize that we're a representative body and our title representative is a meaningful one and we need to not build a security cocoon around us, so significant that the public doesn't feel that they can't have access to us. >> two members told "politico," that they will packing heat when they go back to events in their
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districts now because they're concerned about security. it shows how concerned many members are about their own security. >> sure got our attention when that headline crossed. jon karl on capitol hill. and when we return this evening -- the other major headline, that powerful winter storm bearing down on a huge part of the country. sam champion is standing by on what will be a very rough morning commute. g by on what will be a very rough morning commute. [ female announcer ] alli works when you work.
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ten states now dealing with fierce ice and snow tonight. and "good morning america's" sam champion is in atlanta tonight, sam, good evening. >> reporter: in the southern cities like birmingham, memphis, atlanta here, can expect anywhere from 1 to 2 inches a every winter. they can expect that tonight. but it's the ice with this storm that will be the real problem. the last time atlanta and the southeast was shut down from an ice storm was 2000, it's likely we'll have problems with ice and the fear is that it will be shut down again in the morning. so, as they're treating those road surfaces, already southern snow pictures are coming in. here's what will happen from little rock to memphis, there are traffic accidents in snow and ice. and that's expected to spread east overnight. ice will be the big problem. some areas like atlanta, will come in with snow overnight and then get ice in the early morning hours. and that will be crushing to the travel right here in the atlanta area and you can see how much snow we're expecting all of the way into raleigh.
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david, this has a future, it will move on up the eastern coast after tomorrow. >> we'll be looking for you tomorrow morning on "gma." sam, thank you. overseas tonight, a fierce snowstorm played a role in a plane crash in iran. the plane broke into pieces while the pilots were attempting an emergency landing. 71 people were killed. miraculously 37 survived. >> in africa, a referendum that will create the world's newest country. the southern part of sudan, are deciding whether to secede from the north. and when we come back here tonight -- we return to george and tucson with that hero intern on the job for five days and what he did might have saved that congresswoman's life. [ s]
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to just about everyone, she's just gabby, congresswoman giffords has inspired loyalty and love in so many, one of them her intern, daniel hernandez, when the bullets rang out, he ran toward them and may have saved her life. >> when i heard the shots being being fired, my first instinct was to run towards where the congresswoman was. i saw that there were several people that had been hit and i started checking for pulses. i got to check about two to three people, before i noticed the severity of the congresswoman and her wounds. i applied pressure to her wounds. i had someone from inside of the store, bring in whatever clean linens they had, i was applying pressure with my bare hands. i was afraid that even if we were able to get to the hospital there would be risk of infection. i would tell her, gabby, if you're still with us, just grab my hand and hold tight, she
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grabbed my hand and i told her, if you understand that the ambulance is coming, please just squeeze my hand and she squeezed my hand. i was just letting her know that it was going to be okay. gabby is an amazing human being. a bullet isn't going to stop gabby. she's going to keep fighting. she's been fighting for southern arizona, now we just need to help her fight her own life. >> instinct and loyalty took over. that's all for us tonight. i'll be back tomorrow on "gma." and diane sawyer will be in tucson tomorrow night for "world news." as we sign off, david muir continues our coverage online. on facebook. join the conversation at have a good night.
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>> alan: in perhaps its final act as san francisco mayor, gavin newsom makes a surprise announcement. first -- >> jared loughner was subdued by brave people at the sing. >> alan: the fbi director praised those who stepped up in the shooting in tucson. the suspect in the shooting of congresswoman gabrielle giffords is facing federal charges tonight. they include five counts of murder and attempted assassination. we have the latest from tucson. >> did you say gabrielle giffords was hit? >> reporter: representative gabrielle giffords is in a medically drug induced coma, her police unclear. many are calling it a miracle she evenrv


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